May 2008


A class action lawsuit has been filed against Playtex, which alleges a checmical used in manufacturing Playtex baby bottles can cause serious health problems.  A story in the Washington Post.com says Ashley Campbell filed suit against Playtex in Federal Court alleging the company uses bisphenol A (BPA) in their baby bottles.  The chemical is controversial because it mimics estrogen and could induce hormonal responses.  Besides baby bottles, the chemical is used in water bottles, sports equipment, CDs, household electronics, and medical devices.  The concern is that long term use of the products containing BPA will create low dose exposures that could induce chronic toxicity.

 The Canadian goverment is considering banning BPA’s use in baby bottles.  Wal-Mart set a goal to make all baby bottles it sells BPA free by early next year.  The US Government has found that the chemical causes changes in the brain and in behavior, possible precancerous changes in the breat and prostate, and also early puberty, in studies done with lab rats.  A panel of experts issued a statement recently that the average levels of the chemical found in people are above those that cause harm in lab rats. 

Playtex says that US and other regulatory bodies continue to call the chemical safe.  However they plan to offer a system with plastic bottle liners that do not contain BPA and plan to convert their bottles to mostly BPA free by the end of the year.

I will keep you up to date on this one.

Advertisements

According to a story on Law.com, the 4th District Court of Appeal in Florida, has ruled the state’s 2005 “Asbestos and Silica Compensation Act” unconstitutional.  The law barred claimants with non-malignant lung diseases and less than a 20 percent loss in breathing capacity from suing.  The law also barred claimants suffering from lung cancer, who did not also have asbestosis and diminished breathing capacity, from suing.  The court ruled the entire statute unconstitutional. 

One provision of the act applied the standards set up in the act retroactively to cases already filed in court.  Judge Gary Farmer wote in the decision that the Act “may not constitutionally be applied to eliminate the existing vested rights in the lawsuits pending when the act became effective” in 2005.  In effect, those who got sick before the law was passed had rights that had already accrued before the law went into effect, such that the legislature’s act of making the law retroactive made the statute unconstitutional. 

Another example of tort reform at work.  Tort reformers routinely take away rights of every day citizens, by pushing laws like the one cited above.  Laws that they know trample rights the constitution gives to you and I.  The next step is that the tort reformers then want to monkey around with the courts (appointment of judges. etc.), so that judges like the ones on the 4th Circuit who review these unconstitutional laws will rule that there is nothing wrong with trampling the constitutional rights of the citizens of this great country. 

This result was right and just, and protects average citizens – the tort reformers must be fuming. 

Over 370,000 conterfeit circuit breakers, labeled with the “Square D” logo have been recalled.  They can fail to trip when overloaded and consequently pose a fire hazard.  The products were sold by electrical product distributors across the country between May 2005 and June 2006.  There are pictures of the counterfeit circuit breakers on the CPSC website

The following is a description of the products involved in the recall: “The counterfeit circuit breakers are black and are labeled as Square D QO-series models 115, 120, 130, 215, 220, 230, 240, 250, 260 and 2020 and Square D QOB-series models 115, 120, 130, 220, 230, 250, 260 and 1515. Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker (authentic Square D circuit breakers manufactured prior to 2003 did not have white paint on the amperage numbers); (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; (c) a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your breaker, labeled as Square D, does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.”